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2015 Plans and Goals

January 16, 2015

I love the feeling of a new year.  Maybe it helps that the past two new years have come with new jobs, but there is such a feeling of possibility and the perfection of a blank slate.


In approximate order of priority….

  • Save $18,000 each in our retirement plans
  • Reduce food and discretionary spending by 10% over 2015 (excluding travel, house)
  • $25,000 mortgage prepayment OR equivalent mortgage prepayment + cash saved
  • $9,500 in targeted savings
  • April property tax bill saved by December.
  • Consider rolling over old 401ks into IRA or consolidating.  (I’ve hesitated on this, as an IRA makes the backdoor Roth option, that I never use anyway, tricker.  But my current plan has good options, so I’m not sure why I shouldn’t just roll them together.)
  • Consider a back-door Roth for T.  We could do this in T’s name (I think) with no tax implications.

Self care

Run (or hike/backpack) 1000 miles.  This is something I did in 2012, and it was hard.  It requires me to be consistent.  It will help if I do a marathon.  I might fail.  I’m allowing myself to count hiking and backpacking this time, so that will help a bit.  I use a simple app to track this.

Find a local yoga studio.  I used to live about 1 block from my yoga studio, and even then, I was inconsitent.  I have some leftover money at a yoga chain, and after that, I’ll shop for a closer studio.

Eat more vegetables.  This one isn’t quantifiable, but it is something I want to list anyway.  We used to eat ~90% vegetarian at home, but have been experimenting more with cooking the past year. I finally know how to cook meat and make it taste good.  That is great, but I still need to get more veggies in.  This will come through regular meal planning and just serving more veggies.  I’ll also have the occasional green smoothie, because I like them more than I like salads.

Establish a weekly & daily routine/habits.  Most of what we do, we do out of habit.  I have good ones and bad ones, but I can say I was very inconsistent in 2014.  I’d like to have things be more structured.

Knowledge, Learning, Education, Career Development

Read 35 books.  I would like to read even more, but I am not sure I’ll make the time to do so.  I enjoy the act if reading, but the reason I like to set a goal for number of books read is because I like to be exposed to the knowledge and ideas in books.  I want to learn something new, experience more of the world than I could without of books, and sometimes, just to enjoy a good story.  My “to read” list is ever growing and I want to make some progress.

Take a class.  I’m not going to specify format (online, classroom) or topic.  It likely will not be related to my career.  I am considering a language (French, or maybe something else) or coding in a new language (Python?), but I just need to pick something and commit.

Take a knife skills class.  This is a one day thing.  I put it on my wish list for Christmas (we’re celebrating late), but I will pay for it if I need to.  I’m pretty proficient in the kitchen, but wouldn’t mind speeding up the prep work.

Come up with a list of fun local activities to spend weekends on.  We did some of this in 2014, but I was often too overwhelmed to do much on the weekends.  I need to fix this.

Be awesome at my new job.  I don’t know what to put specifically, but I’ll be learning a LOT this year.  I’m excited.  While there is a lot of new stuff, there is a lot that feels familiar, and I’m happy to be back in an engineering role.

Travel Plans

Hong Kong + ?:   Japan?  We should be able to score a free ticket (with miles) for me when I tag along on T’s conference trip this summer.  I spent a semester during college in Hong Kong, and I’ll die of jealousy if I don’t get to go too.  I want to add on somewhere new, and Japan is seeming like the most likely option, although we won’t have nearly enough time.  I have some SPG points that I have to figure out how to use, but that should help with the hotel.

Toronto: Friend’s wedding, super excited!

Home:  For Christmas.  Also, I’m going this month to celebrate 2014 Christmas.  I also think it would be good if T went to his parent’s this summer, but I likely won’t join.

Portland:  Doing a race here this spring.  I have some leftover southwest credit from a trip I cancelled, so this should be low cost.

Other than that, we’ll have some yet to be planned backpacking / camping and some weekend trips around the area.  I wish to go back to France, but it is pretty unlikely.  I’m going to Dubai again for work in the next couple of months, but I’m not sure I’ll have time to do much exploring.  I feel like I am too new to try to extend the stay for touring much, but I do have one day free, assuming jet lag cooperates.

House Plans & Budget:

I allocated $12k for maintenance (higher than I plan for a typical year), and $4k for furnishings.  We may not need all of this.  This excludes earthquake retrofitting, which I still have 2014 money set aside for…

Improve Drainage.  This is a ~$10k bill, so that is the bulk of our maintenances.  We knew about this, but I was hoping to put it off for a year or two.  After the first big rains of the year, we decided it is best to take care of it now.  We have several bids, and likely will start the work soon.

Blinds:  I want these on a couple of the bedroom windows.  T estimated $500-$600.  We don’t really need them for privacy, but our guests do.  My MIL has said multiple times that we “need” valences so it looks finished, but I do not really care for the look of window treatments in general.

Desk:  I think we’re going to build our own, due to lack of affordable options in the style I want.  It will still cost maybe $200+, but at least it will be what I want.

Repaint bathroom stall.  The tile only goes to about eye level, and the paint doesn’t seem to be bathroom appropriate.  It is already peeling a little, but now that we installed fans, it has gotten a lot better.  Someday, we might retile, but that is not going to happen any time soon.  This should be relatively inexpensive.

Paint ceiling.  We can have this done professionally for $600, or do it ourselves for less.

Replace light fixtures in main living area.  We have something like this right now.  Not only do I think they are ugly, they take up about 250 watts when they are on.  The biggest challenge is deciding what to replace them with.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2015 11:35 am

    You have so many plans and goals for 2015!

    If T has no traditional IRAs, then you should be able to do the back-door Roth for him no problem. You might be able to roll your Rollover IRA into the new 401(k) to clear up your Traditional IRAs.

    I want to establish a weekly and daily routine again in 2015. I’m hopeful that the new job will afford a routine, which my last job didn’t. And for now, I’m enjoying a break from work 😀

    I also like your list of fun local activities idea. I spent a lot of 2014 overwhelmed as well.

    Japan was cool – I went there for two weeks in 2013 🙂

    • January 19, 2015 11:23 am

      We likely would only have 1 week or less for japan, so I’m not quite sure. But it seems like the best add-on option.

      I took >1 mo off at the end of 2013, and it was pretty amazing. This time, people were surprised I was starting up work pretty much immediately after quitting, but i was excited to get started and didn’t really care to take another chunk of time off.

  2. January 16, 2015 6:36 pm

    For us, the easiest way to eat more veggies is to join a CSA.

    My sister goes to Dubai for work sometimes. It must be an engineering thing!

    Learning knife skills was the best thing DH ever did for time management! It cut hours off preparation when he’s the one doing all the cutting.

    • January 19, 2015 11:27 am

      That’s a good idea. We used to be in a CSA before we moved, but we were not cooking as much towards the end, and cancelled. (They also didn’t have online box customization – you had to call – which was a bit annoying.) I’ll have to check out what the best local options are now.

      That’s interesting – not so many engineers I know go to dubai. More to india or france or other random places. Then again, the UAE does have a fair amount of money and investment projects going on, so it makes sense that activity is growing there!.

      • January 19, 2015 11:29 am

        She’s also gone to France and a bunch of other places. (She’s kind of been shoved into a soft-skills position with her latest job, and that comes with a lot of travel to clients.)

  3. February 3, 2015 12:01 am

    I’ve tried a couple CSA deliveries here, both were pretty decent about customizations. I’ll dig up the names for you if you’d like. This does make me laugh, though, if you’ve done 90% vegetarian in the past then you’ve done better than me by far!

    Maybe I’ll still compile an Add Veggie post and have you come and add to it 🙂

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